1 Samuel 29 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Samuel 29)

Verse 2

[2] And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish.

With Achish — As the life-guard of Achish. Achish being, as it seems, the general of the army.

Verse 3

[3] Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?

The princes — The Lords of the other eminent cities, who were confederate with him in this expedition.

These days or years — That is, did I say days? I might have said years. He hath now been with me a full year and four months, chap. 27:7, and he was with me some years ago, 1 Samuel 21:10, and since their time hath been known to me. And it is not improbable, but David, after his escape from thence, might hold some correspondence with Achish, as finding him to be a man of a more generous temper than the rest of the Philistines, and supposing that he might have need of him for a refuge, in case Saul continued to seek his life.

Since he fell — Revolted, or left his own king to turn to me.

Verse 4

[4] And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?

Make this fellow — Herein the wise and gracious providence of God appeared, both in helping him out of these difficulties, out of which no human wit could have extricated him, but he must have been, an ungrateful person either to the one or the other side, and moreover in giving him the happy opportunity of recovering his own, and his all from the Amalekites, which had been irrecoverably lost, if he had gone into this battle. And the kindness of God to David was the greater, because it had been most just for God to have left David in those distresses into which his own sinful counsel had brought him.

These men — That is, of these our soldiers, they speak according to the rules of true policy; for by this very course, great enemies have sometimes been reconciled together.

Verse 8

[8] And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?

David said … — This was deep dissimulation and flattery, no way to be justified. None knows, how strong a temptation they are in to compliment and dissemble, which they are in who attend great men.

Verse 9

[9] And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.

Angel of God — In whom nothing is blame-worthy. The Heathens acknowledged good spirits, which also they worshipped as an inferior sort of deities, who were messengers and ministers to the supreme God; Achish had learned the title of angels, from the Israelites his neighbours, and especially from David's conversation.

Verse 11

[11] So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

Rose up early — David did not then know, how necessary this was, for the relief of his own city. But God knew it well, and sent him thither accordingly. On how many occasions may he say, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter?